Most Common Employee Recruitment Mistakes Businesses Make

interview with an unqualified candidate

As CEO or business owner, chances are you’re not directly responsible for recruitment of new employees. However, hiring the right people is a crucial strategic element in the growth of any business, so it’s imperative that business leaders at least understand how the process should (and shouldn’t) be conducted within their organization.

If all is going well, and your company has a steady influx of talented, engaged employees, you’re clearly doing something right. But if your HR team reports the current job market is proving exceptionally tight, or if your company has experienced a higher-than-acceptable degree of employee turnover in the past year, it’s time to reassess employee recruitment and get a fresh start in 2020.

Here are some of the most common recruitment mistakes businesses and hiring managers make:

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Lack of a systematic hiring process

It’s hard to believe, but some companies “play it by ear” when it comes to bringing on new team members. Without a systematic method for attracting high-quality job candidates, and then proceeding through the background screening, interview and hiring process, your company is at the whim of whoever happens to be out looking for a job at any given time.

This rushed and haphazard approach is virtually guaranteed to result in a chaotic hiring environment, with demoralizing effects on those already toiling away in your workplace.

Related: 4 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Hiring Process

Casting too wide a net

Just as businesses shouldn’t attempt to sell their products or services to every prospective customer out there (rather than focus on a target audience), so it’s a mistake to post job openings and conduct interviews on too large a scale. Without restricting your efforts to the most relevant jobseekers, you’ll likely be deluged with resumes and quickly lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Posting generic, inaccurate and/or uninspiring job descriptions

Too many job descriptions come with boilerplate language and a lack of precision about exactly what a specific position is all about. Not only does this fail to generate much interest among applicants, it can lead to fairly disastrous results later on (as in, hiring the wrong person based on a misleading job description).

Business consultant Lou Adler advocates crafting “performance-based” job description. Rather than emphasizing “qualifications that suggest competence, go straight to what the job actually entails,” he writes. These performance-based descriptions “get to the heart of the job and open the door to more diverse applicants.”

Related: Creative Recruitment Strategies

Dropping the ball with the job interview

Despite all that’s been written about conducting effective job interviews, some recruiters, managers and even CEOs still prefer to “wing it” in these sessions with job applicants. This is regarded by many hiring experts to be among the worst tactics a business can adopt, with often predictably unfortunate outcomes.

First off, don’t underestimate the interviewing skills many job candidates have mastered during their search. While such individuals may make “a wonderful first impression with a confident handshake and well-rehearsed responses,” notes CareerBuilder, they “may not have the expertise you need.” Instead, search for reasons “not to hire someone who initially strikes you as awesome,” because “if you can’t find any, you’ve probably discovered your next employee.”

Next, ask questions that get beneath the surface and help reveal a candidate’s ability to think on their feet. Asking questions that generate a simple “yes” or “no” response will get you nowhere. Instead, ask open-ended questions that compel the interviewee to articulate why he or she might be the right person for the job. Present work-related scenarios that require maturity or good judgment to resolve and see what type of response you get. The answers might surprise and impress you.

Finally, get out of the way. A high-level job interview is not the place for you (or whoever is conducting the interview) to do all the talking. A more effective strategy is not to rush to fill awkward silences, but to enable the candidate to answer questions at length, and to ask a few of their own. How the individual handles this situation can tell you a lot about how well they can think on their feet.

Neglecting cultural fit

It’s no longer enough to bring on a new employee simply because their experience and skills appear to be what you’re looking for. What may look ideal on paper can end up being all wrong for your workplace, in terms of employee compatibility, the right mindset for teamwork, and an overall alignment with what your culture embodies and represents.

Increasingly, savvy hiring managers are seeking individuals with the right cultural fit. “If, for example, your business is fast-paced and casual, but your candidate is extremely formal and meticulous, they’re probably not the best fit,” notes Fundera, “even if they have the experience and qualifications for the role.”

Not drawing upon the team’s input

When you think about it, who better to meet and interact with a promising candidate than the people he or she might end up working with? Unfortunately, some businesses insist that the hiring-and-interview process stays strictly with the domain of HR. Under this arrangement, your team members don’t encounter the new hire until their first day on the job.

What about incorporating your current workforce into the process? We’re not talking about employees having the final say, but instead asking a handful of your best workers to participate in the selection and/or interview process. After all, they know better than just about anyone what the open position entails and who might be best qualified to fill it. They can ask probing “what-if” questions, or otherwise engage the candidate in a discussion that reveals new dimensions to the individual that might have gone unnoticed in a more formal setting.

All of these common recruitment errors can be avoided with the right strategies and processes. Perhaps what’s most important is making sure you standardize the hiring process—that is, employ a structured system that applies in the same way to everyone you bring in to interview and interact with your hiring team. Make sure the questions you ask directly relate to the open position, and that you ask the same questions of every person. This provides an informed foundation upon which you can compare and contrast your experience with the job applicants.

To learn more about how other businesses tackle the hiring challenge, look into becoming a member of Catapult Groups. The insights you gain and the new ideas you encounter will help you build the best employee team out there and guide the way to dramatic future growth.

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